Intriguing, astounding stuff, though likely to appeal only to those who've read Wright's previous installments.

COUNT TO INFINITY

Curious to learn why our universe, at the largest scale, consists of clumps and filaments of matter interspersed with enormous voids—and have several billion years at your disposal? Draw up a chair. Wright has all the answers.

Yes, we’re still in the realm of fiction. This, the sixth and final chapter in the Eschaton sequence, following The Vindication of Man (2016), begins—as most of these books do—with post-human supergenius and uncouth libertarian Menelaus Illation Montrose waking in a remote future and struggling to understand where and when he is, his place in the larger scheme of things, and the whereabouts of two people, one his bitter rival, supercilious totalitarian Ximen del Azarchel, the other the mysterious Rania, whom both Menelaus and Ximen love and claim as their bride. Over the (billions of) years, the pair have fought many fatal yet inconclusive duels—but now so many copies of them exist that it’s doubtful one might be permanently removed. And where is Rania, whose mission was to contact the universe’s presiding intellect, a being a trillion trillion trillion times more intelligent than a base-line human and whose substance comprises superclusters of galaxies converted into smart matter? In substantial appendices Wright provides timelines, definitions, and historical summaries, none of which will help unless the foregoing makes sense. You may be aware, for instance, that scientists predict that in 2 billion years the Milky Way will collide with the Andromeda galaxy; in Wright’s account, this is not some random event but a coldblooded war fought between deadly philosophical antagonists. And you might wonder if the once-human characters tend to get lost against such a vast backdrop. Well, to a certain extent they do, but such is the scope and depth of Wright’s imagination that it doesn’t matter overmuch.

Intriguing, astounding stuff, though likely to appeal only to those who've read Wright's previous installments.

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8160-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and...

DUNE

This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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